Champ Leon Edwards Reacts to UFC Announcing His Next Opponent

Leon Edwards

Getty Leon Edwards

Reigning UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards will make his second title defense against Colby Covington, according to promotion president Dana White.

“Rocky” is fresh off his first match as the 170-pound king, and he closed out his rivalry with former champion Kamaru Usman with a majority decision victory. Following back-to-back wins over “The Nigerian Nightmare,” Edwards is ready to take on a new challenger. But, he doesn’t want that man to be Covington.

Covington was in attendance for UFC 286, which took place at the O2 Arena in London, England. “Chaos” came to the UK to fill the role as backup fighter, but he wasn’t needed as both headliners made the Octagon walk. Instead, Covington sat cageside and spectated the technical five-round tilt.

Post-fight, Edwards was pitched the idea of fighting Covington next by commentator Daniel Cormier. While Covington yelled from the sidelines, “Rocky” dismissed him, saying that he was more interested in squaring up against the winner of UFC 287’s upcoming co-main event between Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal.

But, the UFC president spoke told the media at the press conference after the event that “Chaos” was indeed next for Edwards. “I don’t know when we’ll do it, but yeah, that’s the fight that makes sense,” White said. “And Colby came here and cut weight, and did everything to be here for this fight. He deserves this fight – not to mention the fact that he’s the second or third best guy in the world.”

Edwards Reacted to White’s Comments, ‘I Don’t Know How That Makes Sense’

Rocky took part in the UFC 286 post-fight press conference as well, and he gave his reaction to the UFC president saying Covington would get his third shot at undisputed UFC gold. And in short, Rocky doesn’t understand how Chaos deserves a title fight.

“I don’t know how that makes sense,” Edwards said. “He hasn’t fought for over a year and a half, sat out, not injured. I just don’t get how he just slides in for a world title shot when there’s other guys in the division that’s been active, fighting, didn’t sit out. So, yeah. Like I said, I’m the king now. I’ve earned my way.  I feel I should decide who’s next.”

Covington hasn’t fought in a year. He last competed in March 2022 when he took a unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal, which served as a bounce back after losing the contest prior to Usman for the undisputed strap.

Covington spoke with UFC correspondent Megan Olivi at the end of the broadcast, and he challenged Edwards to meet him on “home soil” in Las Vegas during UFC 290, which takes place on July 8 — the capstone to the promotion’s upcoming International Fight Week.

Edwards Thinks Masvidal Would Draw More Eyes as an Opponent Than Covington

Rocky made it clear that he would be paying close attention to Burns vs. Masvidal. Burns is coming off an impressive first-round submission win over Neil Magny. And although Masvidal is 0-3 in his last three trips to the Octagon, he has a history with Edwards. The two got into a scuffle backstage at a London event in 2019 which ended with Masvidal punching Edwards multiple times.

So, Edwards is interested in battling April 8’s winner. And considering his backstory with Masvidal, and the fact that “Gamebred” is one of the biggest stars in the sport, Rocky said that potential matchup would receive more eyeballs than one with Covington — which in turn would make him more money via pay-per-view points.

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